Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In the Evo-Stik, fans can still tell a team from a business

 Source: The Guardian

 If Premier League football is a cash-dominated farce, the rebellious optimism of supporter-owned clubs points to an alternative

 'Top-level football looks exactly like a small globalised economy," offered one Comment is free user, and they didn't mean it as a compliment. "There is something inherently messed up about a competition that starts each year with 20 teams but only three or four of them ever have the potential to actually win," reckoned someone else. We had asked Cifers for their opinions about life in the game's less star-spangled layers – and inevitably, just about everyone was agreed on something so built into the national conversation that it seems to be a matter of firm consensus: that notwithstanding such jaw-droppers as Manchester United thrashing Arsenal 8-2, big money is so distorting the game that its upper tiers seem to have precious little to do with the unpredictable glories of great sport.

Of late, Uefa has introduced financial fair play rules aimed at forcing big clubs to break even and limit their spending; but plenty of sceptical voices still see the future of high-end football belonging to such teams as Chelsea, Manchester City – and FC Anzhi Makhachkala. Thanks to a local oligarch named Suleyman Kerimov, the Dagestan club have just signed Samuel Eto'o from Inter Milan for £22m and are paying him £330,000 a week to make sporting life in an unstable region just south of Chechnya that bit more palatable.

Meanwhile, whether new constraints on the sport's aristocracy work or not, in the case of scores of British clubs all that matters is simple survival. The super-teams of the Premier League tower over them, offering a kind of infinite gratification with which the stoicism of traditional football fandom can't compete. Falling into administration is an ongoing threat. But as an evening at the home ground of Chester FC proves, some clubs are brimming with a new kind of rebellious optimism. "Coming here is actually better than the Premier League," one fan tells me; that might be pushing it, but I can just about see his point.

Until the spring of 2010, the local team here were called Chester City. Founded in 1885, their history contained little more auspicious than once reaching the semi-finals of the League Cup, and in the TV age the success enjoyed by Liverpool sucked away their support. Towards the end of their existence, they were bedeviled by textbook mishap: a £7m debt, administration, an owner since ruled out of the game according to the Football Association's "fit and proper" regulations – and expulsion from the Conference League in February 2010. The club was formally liquidated a month later.

But those who wanted football to carry on here acted admirably quickly, and launched the new Chester FC as a "phoenix club". Crucially, it's a mutual: owned by its supporters, who can pay a minimum of £5 a season to become active shareholders. And it is not alone: the night I watched them play, their opponents in the Evo-Stik League premier division were the fan-owned FC United Of Manchester, founded in protest against the debt-laden misrule of the Glazer family. There is also AFC Wimbledon – whose fans took similar umbrage at their old club's move to Milton Keynes and are now back in the Football League – and, among others, Brentford, Exeter City, Cambridge City, and good old Runcorn Linnets.

Built around these teams is an ecosystem of support and sympathetic research. Supporters Direct, the body originally set up by the last government to encourage more accountable sports clubs, not only advises and lobbies but runs its own cup and pre-season shield competitions. The momentum they've acquired led to a pledge to encourage "co-operative ownership of football clubs by supporters" in last year's coalition agreement, though insiders say they now want some appreciable action. They're pushing for tax relief for fan-owned clubs. As soon as it becomes law, they want government and local authorities to aggressively use the provisions of the localism bill to identify football clubs as assets of community value, thus opening the way for mutualised local ownership. More generally, they're pushing for a sports law that will recognise that clubs amount to much more than privately owned businesses, and toughen the regulation on who can own them.

Back inside Chester's Exacta Stadium, the last 20 minutes was a bit of a thriller: the home team holding on to a 2-1 lead, though FC United constantly threatened to come back – all of which underlines the fact that in the absence of Sky TV cameras, those fabled prawn sandwiches and big money, the game's essential thrills might actually be easier to experience. The 3,219 fans who turned up created a fantastically infectious atmosphere.

Incidentally, this coming Saturday will see no Premier League or Championship fixtures, because of international matches – and has been craftily rebranded by grassroots football activists as "non-league day". The online blurb exhorts "all football fans to watch their local non-league side play, providing both a boost to grassroots football and a new experience for fans used to the upper echelons of the game".

If you're troubled by the idea that big-time football has now become a cash–dominated farce, you should think about trying it. And if you need further encouragement, consider these words, posted on Cif by a disciple of Weymouth FC, currently doing their thing in the Evo-Stik southern premier division. "There are no poncy egos here. That nippy right-winger you idolise from the terraces? You'll see him the next day emptying your bin."

John Harris
Tuesday 30 August 2011 22.00 BST
Link to video: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/video/2011/aug/30/fan-owned-football-clubs-chester-fc-video

Battle of the fan-owned football clubs – video

 Source: The Guardian

 Chester FC was formed by fans from the ashes of liquidated club Chester City last year. John Harris goes to watch their Evo-Stick Premier League clash against fellow co-op club FC United of Manchester and talks to those involved.

Click here for the video (11mins51secs). 

John Harris and John Domokos
Tuesday 30 August 2011

Rampant Rebels: FC United upwardly mobile

 Source: MEN

 Non-League nomads FC United climbed to fifth in Evo-Stik Premier with a thrilling 5-2 victory over old foes Bradford Park Avenue at Curzon Ashton's Tameside Stadium - their seventh "home" in as many seasons.

But it needed a late brace by substitute Steve Torpey plus a Michael Carr thunderbolt to secure the Rebels their second high-scoring triumph of the Bank Holiday weekend after they'd twice allowed the visitors to fight back from a goal down.

First Lee Neville (24 mins) and then Adam Jones (45) headed FC in front, only for Bradford to reply through Michael Duckworth and Richard Marshall.

Torpey finally netted the winner when he coolly converted a 79th minute penalty after skipper Mike Norton had been upended before he and Carr added further gloss to the result.
Garry Flitcroft's Chorley stay top despite suffering their first defeat in sinking 2-1 to visiting Marine, while Northwich move up to second following a 3-1 home win over Ashton United.

Altrincham's stuttering start in Blue Square Bet North under Lee Sinnott continued as they surrendered a two-goal advantage in being held 2-2 by Guiseley at Moss Lane.

But it could have been worse for Alty, who led 2-0 through Damian Reeves (seven mins) and Shaun Densmore (26) only to see the visitors draw level by the break, as they had to see out the final 25 minutes with only 10 men following Anthony Danylyk's dismissal for a second bookable offence.

Curzon Ashton leapfrogged Lancaster to the top of Evo-Stik North while sending neighbours Mossley sliding to the foot of the table with Kristian Dennis's hat-trick helping them to a sixth successive victory in a 4-0 romp at Seel Park.

Woodley were comfortable 3-0 winners at Radcliffe and Salford drew 1-1 at Prescot, but Trafford lost 3-2 to Witton Albion at Shawe View.

Ally Pickering's New Mills maintained their two-point lead at the Evo-Stik South summit with Ashley Stott scoring twice as they came from behind to beat Stamford 2-1 at Church Lane.

Tony Glennon
August 30, 2011

League Express Surprise At Police Decision

 Source: Football Trade Directory

 The Upcoming Evostik League fixture between newly promoted Chorley and FC United has been made all ticket at the instigation of the local Police, with kick-off brought forward to 11.30 am on Sat 10th September. Fans will recall disruption at Chorley's game with Chester last season caused by a minority of outside - so called fans attending the game looking for trouble.

The move by the Police to make this high profile game - given FC United's following - all ticket is no shock and whilst such an early kick-off can be debated no one wants a repeat of the Chester game, least of all Chorley FC.

Allcock, Evo-Stik League Operations Manager said, “I am a little surprised on the insistence of a change of kick off time for this fixture in view of FC United’s excellent behaviour by their supporters particularly over the past 12 months.

"FC United have been involved in some very high profile games including an evening Play-Off Semi Final at Bradford and 3pm kick-off at the Final away to Colwyn Bay. The reports received back from The FA observer and what I witnessed myself at Colwyn Bay showed that without segregation linked with good even handed stewarding a high profile fixture can take place in good spirit and without trouble.

“I hope that FC United supporters will still make the journey to Chorley to give the team their traditional support. I can understand why some people may wish to make a protest at such changes.

"However, the only way authorities will be convinced that kick off times need not be changed is if there is a capacity crowd and both sets of supporters do what they are best at and that is giving, with excellent behaviour, full support on the day to their respective club. A half empty ground and no trouble does not prove anything. A full ground and no trouble would be considerable proof towards convincing people to relax the arrangements that have been forced on Chorley FC for the FC United fixture.”

With both clubs well supported a bumper crowd is expected and with Chorley's near neighbours Preston playing on Friday night they can expect additional interest from local football fans.

For latest info visit www.chorleyfc.com

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bradford Park Avenue fall apart after penalty woe

 Source: Bradford Telegraph and Argus

 FC United of Manchester 5, Bradford Park Avenue 2

 A three-goal salvo in the last 11 minutes handed FC United a handsome victory over a stunned Avenue side.

John Deacey’s men had matched their hosts for most of the game but fell apart after conceding a late penalty.

The defeat dropped Avenue from second to sixth in the Evo-Stik League Premier Division table, one place below FC United who leapfrogged them on goal difference.

But they have not lost too much ground because the top seven clubs are separated by just three points.

Avenue lost striker Aiden Savory to what looked like a hamstring injury early on and also had a strong penalty claim waved away when Nicky Boshell went through and seemed to be impeded by two home defenders.

United took the lead midway through the first half when Lee Neville headed in following a corner but Avenue responded in the 36th minute. Michael Duckworth, who had replaced Savory, raced into the home area and dispossessed a defender before slotting in.

The home side still led at the interval though after Avenue were guilty of questionable defending at another set-piece. Again the delivery from the corner was allowed to reach an unmarked FC man, this time Adam Jones heading in.

Avenue got back on terms just after the hour mark when Richard Marshall netted a superb strike after a move that had stemmed from a throw-in.

The Bradford club almost snatched the lead in the 71st minute but midfielder Rob O’Brien’s shot on the turn was tipped for a corner. Then it all went wrong.

Michael Norton broke into the Avenue area but was in a wide position at an acute angle to the goal when Alex Noteman, who had also come off the bench following an injury to Matty Plummer, took him down. Stephen Torpey netted from the spot.

Two minutes later Michael Carr produced a wonder strike to make it 4-3 and in the penultimate minute, following a sweeping passing move, Matthew Wolfenden wrapped up the scoring.

There was further injury woe for Avenue boss Deacey as James Knowles, who had returned to the starting line-up as skipper, limped out of central defence before the end of the game.

9:37pm Monday 29th August 2011
By Ian Whiting

Saturday, August 27, 2011

WEEKEND RESULTS: Buxton FC 0-4 FC United of Manchester, Coalville Town 0-0 New Mills AFC, Glossop North End 0-0 Padiham

 Source: Buxton Advertiser

 BUXTON FC fell to a fifth straight defeat with a 4-0 thumping by FC United of Manchester on Saturday.

In front of a crowd of just over 900, the Bucks trailed 1-0 at half time after Adam Jones had headed the visitors in front after 15 minutes.

Mike Norton made it 2-0 midway through the second half for the Red Rebels, and substitute Danny Grimshaw added a third with less than five minutes remaining. Steve Torpey completed the rout in stoppage time.

Ten-man New Mills played out a goalless draw against last season’s FA Vase finalists Coalville Town to maintain their unbeaten start to the season in the Evo-Stik First Division South.

There was also an absence of goals at Surrey Street, where North West Counties League Premier Division side Glossop North End faced Padiham

Police in pledge to back football club

 Source: Chorley Guardian

 Police have pledged to support Chorley FC’s efforts to ensure the hotly-anticipated match against FC United goes without a hitch.

An early kick-off of 11.30am is expected to be put in place for the game on September 10, as well as a new ticketing operation and 40 stewards.

This will run in conjunction with a police operation and limited away tickets as the club strives to prevent a repeat of the crowd trouble that marred February’s game with Chester.

The ticket procedure will mean fans will need to have attended three other games before they can pick up a ticket for the FC United of Manchester game.

Tickets were given out at last week’s home opener against Frickley Athletic, as well as Saturday’s game against Buxton and will be given out at the clash with Marine on Monday, August 29.

Insp Steve Evans of Lancashire Police said officers would be working with the club to ensure the game went ahead problem-free.

He said: “There is no intelligence to suggest any problems at the match. Our intention is to support the club in staging the this fixture, to ensure that supporters from both clubs enjoy a really good game in a positive environment.

“This is in keeping with Chorley FC’s status as a family club. The club ha liaised with us and we are fully supporting them.”

The kick-off time has yet to be finalised but is expected to go ahead at 11.30am with around 500 tickets allocated to away fans.

Insp Evans said: “An early kick-off is really helpful and all of these measures just mean the risk level is kept down.

“I am really encouraged and pleased to see the measures that the club have taken to enhance security for this fixture.

“I have had several meetings with the club and have been delighted with the positive and supportive approach they have taken, and how responsible they have been with football supporters and the town in general to make sure the fixture passes off successfully.”

Chorley FC chairman Ken Wright said: “We have agreed in principle that the game will be policed and we are going to have segregation and restrict the numbers of following FC United fans.

“Historically we have never had problems with FC United but of course we need to approach the game sensibly. Obviously the police concern is as much out of the ground as it is in the ground.

“We have to make every effort to ensure people are looked after and everything goes off without a problem.”

By Steve Evans
Published on Saturday 27 August 2011 10:00

Friday, August 26, 2011

There’s Only Two Manchester Uniteds

 Source: Sabotage Times

 If overpriced tickets and under-enthusiastic fans have made you reconsider your season ticket, perhaps it's time to downgrade to part time teams and full time authenticity

By Simon Buckley

At a ground that sits amongst the Pennine hills, I’m watching the rebel team formed by fans of Manchester United. It’s the first FC United of Manchester home game of their 7th season, and it’s like I’ve fallen through a time portal. My ticket was only £8, I’m standing on a terrace, surrounded by supporters determined to sing for the full 90 minutes, and we’re all watching players who give a damn.

On the right wing there’s Carlos “feet like lighting” Rocca, who used to play at Oldham Athletic and looks like a 1930s matinee idol. Up front, cult figure Ben “football genius” Deegan, is playing out of his skin. With his beard, tattoos and odd gait, he looks like a character from Kes, but he’s got gifted feet and he’s keeping last season’s other top scorer and star striker, Mike Norton (who’s not from Gorton) on the bench. Down the other flank is Matthew Wolfenden, who inspires howling from the crowd whenever he scores, and was also on the books at Oldham. Behind them, driving the team forward is Jake Cottrell, the midfielder who scored a wonder goal in last season’s famous victory over Rochdale in the FA Cup.

Although most home games are played at Gigg Lane, Bury’s ground, tonight the game is at Bower Fold, home to Stalybridge Celtic. Here the fans change ends at half-time so that the team feels the full force of the supporters behind the goal. The crowds have been consistently around the 2000 mark for the past few years, and this season there’s been an upsurge in sales of season tickets after the club announced a “pay what you can afford scheme.” Putting the fans first is in the DNA of the club and there’s a lively social scene before matches with live bands and comedy in the bars around the ground.

These fans have had to adjust. A few years ago they’d have been planning flights to Barcelona or Rome to watch Giggs and Scholes. Now they’re working out whether to catch the 11.52 from Piccadilly to Buxton or get the supporter’s coach to Bradford Park Avenue to see players who have day jobs as window fitters and roofers. One of them is even rumoured to wear a thong when he plays. We are a long way from the glittering temple of the Premiership. But it’s not as far away as it once was, as FC United, currently playing in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League are just 2 promotions away from Division 2.

I first went to football aged 7 to watch Bolton Wanderers. I remember Sam Allardyce scoring early in an FA Cup tie in 1974 against Newcastle and was smitten. In 1979, instead of visiting my mum in hospital after my sister’s birth, I chose to stand in lashing rain, watching the Trotters trying to avoid relegation. And, whenever I recall hoisting my young daughter onto my shoulders, to witness the crowds streaming away from Burnden Park after the first Premiership game, I’m still warmed by an August sun from 1995.

This was football where songs were sung throughout the match. I sometimes hugged the man next to me when a goal was scored and it was an experience I could afford to share with my kids, hoping that they would also be inspired to become the next generation of supporters. After the team transferred to the Reebok stadium, however, I stopped taking my children – it became too expensive. And the atmosphere changed. Nobody sang and, if I’d tried to embrace the man now sitting next to me, he’d have punched me. By 2006 I realised that I’d begun to hate the avarice of the Premiership and stopped going to football.

And so, after a gap of 4 years, I felt like a rescued Labrador when I found a new home at FC United. I blame my daughter. She fancied one of the players and took me along one night. Like a lot of men, I hadn’t thought it possible to transfer my heart to another team. But, just like Alex Drake falling for Gene Hunt in Ashes to Ashes, I felt myself being drawn in the more I learned. It was when 1000 people started singing The Carpenters’ hit “ Top of the World” that I fell in love.

Back in August 2011 and one of the crowd has just thrown a till roll at the North Ferriby goalie and called out to ask him if he’s wearing a bra. The terrace explodes into a rousing chorus of “Margey’s van, is full of veg, oh Margey’s van is full of veg”, (the manager, Karl Marginson, used to have a grocery delivery business). On the far side of the pitch, their number 11 loses his temper and is immediately assailed with “Just because you’re losing”. It’s like being back on the fields with my school team, when mates of the other team’s players would stand behind the goal, mocking our every move.

With about 10 minutes to go, United go 6-3 up as club legend Steve Torpey lobs the keeper from 25 yards out. Everyone goes mental. Ticker tape is thrown in the air, bar scarves are twirled and the full repertoire of songs is belted out with the gusto of Bavarians at Oktoberfest. Dads beam at their sons and husbands and wives dance like they’ve paid off the mortgage and the kids have left home.

This has to be the future of football. AFC Wimbledon, the first of the fan owned clubs, now play in the Football League and have shown that it’s possible to succeed without millionaire owners exploiting the supporters. And as empty seats become more common in Premiership grounds, the footballing authorities need to learn from history.

When the Romans built the Colosseum, they probably believed that gladiators would forever be slicing Christians in half for the entertainment of the masses. The warriors were big business for their owners, and politicians used the games to secure popularity with the public. But, whilst mankind has survived for millennia, these contests lasted just a couple of centuries before people grew bored and deserted the amphitheatres.

Football, as we know it today, has existed for less time than the gladiators, and yet guardians of the sport display the hubris and greed of ancient Senators, clearly believing the plebs will always be sated by a simple formula of tribal blood, sweat and tears endorsed by a Nike tick. Gradually, though, we’re losing faith in our leaders, and each season more of us are defiantly pointing our thumbs at the ground.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

FC United rocked by rivals Chester

 Source: MEN

 A late goal by skipper Mike Norton failed to save FC United from their second Evo-Stik Premier defeat in five days as they crashed 2-1 to promotion rivals Chester in front of a 3,219 crowd at the Deva Stadium.

Norton struck with a header from a Carlos Roca corner to give the Rebels hope of rescuing a point after they trailed 2-0 at the break to a Matty McGinn penalty and a Matty McNeill goal.

Ashton United climbed to sixth with Chris Amadi scoring twice as they beat Burscough 3-2 at Hurst Cross.

Chester FC 2-1 FC United

 Source: Chester First

 CHESTER silenced their critics with an impressive home victory against promotion hopefuls FC United.

First half goals from debutant Matty McGinn and Matty McNeil put the Blues in the driving seat during a contest they dominated for long spells.

Chester, who were looking to bounce back after their 1-0 weekend loss at Hednesford, maintained control until 11 minutes from time when striker Mick Norton found the target off the left post with a header from substitute Carlos Roca's corner.

FC United provided a nervy finale for their hosts and forced Blues keeper John Danby into two fine saves towards the end of the match, but the visitors' failed in their bid to restore parity.

Blues boss Neil Young made four changes to the side that was beaten 1-0 at Hednesford on Saturday.

Robbie Booth, Chris Simm, Michael Powell, and new loan signing Matty McGinn started in place of Wes Baynes, Greg Stones, Jamie Rainford, and Ashley Williams.

Defender Liam Brownhill's forward pass sparked Chester's first meaningful attack in the third minute. Matty McNeil glanced the ball on for Simm, but former Chester City keeper James Spencer raced to the edge of his box to gather possession.

Ex-Wrexham striker Matthew Wolfenden responded for the visitors two minutes later, but his low 20 yard strike hit the base of the left post and bounced wide.

McGinn carved the Blues scoring opportunity in the seventh minute with a trademark long throw into the United box which was cleared as far as Chester skipper George Horan whose goalbound effort was deflected into the path of Spencer.

McGinn was orchestrating Chester's setpieces as the Blues began to win more possession including a 13th minute corner that found Horan's head, but the effort was easily gathered by Spencer.

On loan debutant McGinn then coolly slotted home a 17th minute penalty after Simm had been fouled in the area by Lee Neville who was booked.

Chester were inches away from doubling their advantage in the 25th minute when Brownhill clipped a superbly measured pass towards McNeil whose header looped over Spencer and onto the top of the bar.

Powell was presented with a gilt-edged scoring chance in the 28th minute, latching onto a headed pass by Horan off McGinn's long throw, but steering his first time effort from 10 yards wide of the left post.

Michael Carr relieved the pressure on the visitors in the 35th minute when he let fly with an ambitious long range shot that Danby easily saved.

But Chester resumed normal service a minute later when Christian Smith's free kick found Horan whose header had to be tipped over by Spencer.

Former FC United winger Jerome Wright maintained Chester's increasing command of the contest, but his 25 yard shot was deflected wide of the target.

Horan forced Spencer into a save in the 37th minute with a back post header from Robbie Booth's left sided corner.

United, clearly needing to make changes, then made a double substitution, introducing Carlos Roca and Steve Torpey in place of Ben Deegan and Michael Carr.

Liverpool referee Jon Hunt added insult to injury minutes before the break when he punished Richard Battersby with only a yellow card for a blatant elbowing offence on Simm, and seconds later brandished a yellow card to Simm for re-appearing from the touchline earlier than he should have done.

Chester made it 2-0 a minute into first half stoppage time thanks to McNeil who slotted the ball beyond Spencer after Danby's long kick had been flicked on by Horan.

But Simm failed to extend the Blues' lead seconds later when he seized onto a poor back from Dean Stott and rounded Spencer before losing his footing before allowing United to clear the danger.

Alex Brown carved Chester's first chance after the break, controlling Wright's pass in the left and creating space before steering his goalbound effort straight at Spencer.

Brownhill maintained the Blues hopes of increasing their advantage seconds later, but his surging run culminated in a 20 yard shot screwed well wide of the left post.

United striker Mike Norton attempted to reduce his side's arrears in the 63rd minute when he raced into the box and saw his low shot beat Danby and bounce wide of the left post.

And Norton was offered another shooting chance seconds later but saw his goalbound effort gratefully accepted by Danby.

Chester introduced substitute Iain Howard in place of Wright in the 64th minute and Howard played his part in an assist for McNeil in the 67th minute, but the striker's effort was pawed clear by Spencer.

Horan pushed forward with the aim of extending Chester's lead in the 75th minute, but his powerful low drive crashed off the foot of the left post.

Norton gave the visitors hope of a dramatic finale when he headed home a Roca corner in the 79th minute.

And Danby had to pull off two fine saves from Jake Cottrell as the visitors pressed for a late equaliser.

CHESTER (4-4-2): Danby 7; Brownhill 8, Smith 8, Horan 8, McGinn 8; Booth 7 (Baynes 87), Brown 8, Powell 8, Wright 7 (Howard 64); Simm 9 (Reed 83), McNeil 8. Subs (not used): Rainford, Taylor.

FC UNITED OF MANCHESTER (4-4-2): Spencer 8; Battersby 7, Neville 7, Cottrell 8, Jones 7; Stott 7, Deegan 7 (Roca 37), Platt 8 (Grimshaw 73), Carr 8 (Torpey 37); Norton 9, Wolfenden 8. Subs (not used): Metcalfe, Chadwick.

REFEREE: Jonathan Hunt (Liverpool).


MATCH RATING (1-5): ***

MAN OF THE MATCH: Blues striker Chris Simm worked his socks off to create openings.

MAGIC MOMENT: Matty McNeil's finish to put the Blues 2-0 in front.

MOAN OF THE MATCH: Inconsistent refereeing decisions.

Published date: 25 August 2011 |
Published by: Dennis Wall

Rebels chased down in defea

 Source: Bury Times

 FC United slipped to their first defeat of the season against Chasetown at Gigg Lane on Saturday The Evo-Stik Premier League outfit followed up their opening-day win with a superb 6-3 victory against North Ferriby United last Wednesday.

But they went down 2-1 after Chasetown came from behind as United’s Matthew Wolfenden scored inside the opening 60 seconds for the second weekend in a row.

The Rebels, who took on Chester last night, travel to Buxton on Saturday.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chester FC 2 FC United of Manchester 1: Impressive Blues bounce back in style

 Source: Chester Chronicle

 CHESTER produced their best performance of the season to win the battle of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League big boys at an electric Exacta Stadium.

Debutant Matty McGinn and top-scorer Matty McNeil fired the Blues into a thoroughly deserved two-goal lead before FC United reduced the deficit to set up a tense finale.

Mike Norton’s 81st-minute header shredded the nerves of the home supporters in the bumper 3,219 crowd, but Neil Young’s team kept their composure to bounce back from their defeat to Hednesford Town on Saturday.

Showing four changes to the side that were beaten late on at Keys Park, Chester were at it from the off and the visitors could have no complaints with the final outcome.

But it was Karl Marginson’s men who started the brighter as Matthew Wolfenden hit the outside of the post from the edge of the area with five minutes on the clock.

Former Wrexham striker Wolfenden was causing plenty of problems at the tip of a midfield diamond. But the hosts – and the excellent Michael Powell in particular – soon got to grips with him, so much so that FC United boss Marginson totally changed his formation eight minutes before the break by making a double substitution.

By that time the Blues were well on top and leading through McGinn’s 17th-minute penalty.

The left-back, who was named man of the match in his first appearance since signing on loan from Southport, sent James Spencer the wrong way after Lee Neville brought the livewire Chris Simm down in the box.

After McNeil headed on to the bar, the advantage was doubled one minute into first half added time.

Goalkeeper John Danby’s long kick was headed into the danger area by captain George Horan and McNeil was on hand to turn in his third goal in four matches from close range.

Chester were rampant and Simm would have added a third moments later had the ball not got stuck under in his foot with the goal at his mercy.

FC United came into the game the restart, but their goal continued to live a charmed life.

Spencer saved from McNeil after a lovely move involving Alex Brown and the impressive Liam Brownhill before Horan cracked the post with an 18-yard drive.

It came against the run of play, then, when Norton nodded in Carlos Roca’s corner nine minutes from time.

The Blues were now under the cosh, but they stood firm and Danby did well to turn Jake Cottrell’s long-range effort around the post in what was the last meaningful shot of an enthralling match.

Chester: Danby, Brownhill, Horan, Smith, McGinn, Booth (Baynes 87), Powell, Brown, Wright (Howard 64), Simm (Reed 83), McNeil. Subs: Rainford, Taylor.

Booked: Brownhill, Simm, McGinn.

Goals: McGinn 17, McNeil 45.

FC United: Spencer, Battersby, Jones, Stott, Neville, Carr (Roca 38), Cottrell, Platt (Grimshaw 73), Wolfenden, Deegan (Torpey 38), Norton. Subs: Metcalfe, Chadwick.

Booked: Neville, Battersby.

Referee: Jonathan Hunt (Liverpool).

Attendance: 3,219.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Football: big money, big clubs, big problems?

FC United of Manchester describes itself as
'a community football club owned and
democratically run by its 2,000-plus members'.
Photograph: Christopher Thomond

 Source: The Guardian

 As the season gets going, we want to know your thoughts about supporting smaller clubs and how finance affects the sport

John Harris
guardian.co.uk, Monday 22 August 2011 15.30 BST

A couple of weeks ago, we asked Comment is free users for their suggested examples of the way that the media often distorts local stories beyond recognition. Given that the riots had just started, the response was a little underwhelming: this is a subject to which we'll return, ideally before Christmas – so if you know of any story that fits the bill – we're talking about 'Asylum seekers eat swans' syndrome, essentially – please get in touch at anywherebutwestminster@gmail.com.

In the meantime, we're going to focus the next instalment on football. With the start of the 2011-12 season and the imminent closure of the transfer window, it's time to look at the effect that methods of modern business are having on the beautiful game. Massive sums are being spent, particularly by the kind of new arrivals in the top-flight represented by Manchester City. Manchester United are reportedly planning to part-float on the Singapore stock exchange. Meanwhile, many clubs are struggling – though supporters are beginning to fight back via new models of mutualisation and community ownership (see the Supporters Direct initiative for details).

On Wednesday, we're going to the clash between Chester FC and FC United of Manchester, both representative of the new wave of football mutuals. We want to feed in as much opinion and information from Comment is free into our coverage as possible. So, some questions…

What's it like supporting a small club, particularly in the shadow of a Premiership giant? What's the appeal of allegiance to a lower-league side? Has where you live lost a football club, or is it in the midst of a fight to save one? Do you support a big club, and have concerns about what big money is doing to the experience of being a fan? And to what extent do you think that the mutual/community ownership option is the way to go?

We'll be back on the thread at regular intervals. Obviously.

Early goal is not enough as Rebels miss out

 Source: MEN

 FC United failed to build on a dream start as they dropped their first Evo-Stik Premier points of the season in losing 2-1 to Chasetown at Gigg Lane, writes Tony Glennon.

The Rebels, who’d won both their previous games convincingly, looked set to serve up another goal feast when Matthew Wolfenden put them ahead with barely 30 seconds gone.

FC then went on to boss the opening period but paid for their failure to add a second goal as the Staffordshire visitors came roaring back after the break for an unlikely win.

Shortly after United had been controversially denied a penalty when Dave Chadwick took a tumble in the box, they conceded the softest of equalisers through a 45-yard free-kick from former Altrincham midfielder Jake Sedgemore. And the Rebels scarcely had time to recover before striker John Branch reacted quickest to fire in what proved to be the winner.

Meanwhile, Ashton United's winning start was also halted as they lost to an early Chris Morris goal at Rushall Olympic.

But Garry Flitctroft's newly-promoted Chorley march on at the summit with Steve Foster's 72nd-minute penalty giving them a third consecutive triumph as they overcame Buxton.

Curzon Ashton made it three straight Evo-Stik North wins under new manager John Flanagan with goals by Matthew Kay and Matthew Purcell sinking Garforth 2-1.

There were victories, too, for Trafford, Salford and Woodley — the latter hammering winless Mossley 4-0 – while Radcliffe were unlucky not to beat title favourites Skelmersdale, who needed a 79th-minute James Mullineux own goal to rescue a point in a 2-2 draw.

New Mills continued their strong start in Evo-Stik South as they beat Sheffield 2-1 at Church Lane with Carlos Meakin and Ashley Stott scoring.

Andy Lindon's hat-trick helped Cheadle thrash their NWCL neighbours Chadderton 8-2 in the FA Cup’s extra preliminary round.

Ramsbottom, together with Atherton neighbours LR and Collieries, also successfully negotiated the Cup’s opening hurdle, but Irlam, Glossop and Wigan Robin Park all crashed out. Maine Road face a replay.

Tony Glennon
August 22, 2011

Match report: FC United of Manchester 1 Chasetown FC 2

 Source: Lichfield Live

 Chasetown FC completed a remarkable second half turnaround to take a 2-1 victory at highly-rated FC United of Manchester.

For the second time in four days Chasetown fell behind in the very first minute, Matt Wolfenden picking up a through ball before rounding John Branch and steering the ball under Ryan Price,s body to put FC United ahead after only 30 seconds.

Price saw plenty of action throughout the first half against a side touted among the favourites for the league title, catching a header from Wolfenden and coming off his line to stop a shot from Ben Deegan before denying the pair further chances later in the half.

Chasetown’s best chance came on 12 minutes when a free kick found Ben Jevons on the edge of the six-yard box and he stretched for the target but his effort went wide. Gary Birch fired the ball back in but the home defence were able to clear.

Wolfenden had the ball in the net on 18 minutes but the goal was ruled offside, while a Jevons shot was blocked by David Chadwick as Chasetown slowly obtained more possession but were not able to convert it into chances.

Jake Sedgemore did go close with a long drive but keeper James Spencer saved, while the Scholars survived a scare when Jake Cottrell lobbed the ball over Price after spotting the keeper off his line but the ball bounced wide of the target.

Chasetown had the better of the second half play and Jevons continued his good form, seeing a header collected at the far post by Spencer and blocking a shot from Cottrell.

The Scholars made their presence felt more and more strongly in front of goal with a Gary Birch cross headed over by Ian Neville while Alex Steadman dragged a shot wide following a Mark Branch cross.

Eventually the breakthrough came on 70 minutes when a free kick from Sedgemore on the edge of the area went through the middle of everyone and in at the far post with Stride and Jevons closing in, the latter getting the slightest touch to the ball but Sedgemore was credited with his maiden Scholars goal.

Six minutes later and the comeback was complete, Gary Hay heading a John Branch cross onto the bar but the ball bounced back and John Branch was in position for a left-footed shot which nestled in the corner of the net.

The Reds enjoyed a few late efforts including a shot from Wolfenden which beat the diving Price but went wide, and Chasetown’s resolution and hard work won out for their first league win of the season in dramatic fashion.

Next up for the Scholars is a home encounter with Nantwich Town tomorrow (August 23), kick-off 7.45pm, before taking on Chorley on Saturday (3pm).

FC United: Spencer, Battersby (c), Neville, Cottrell, Chadwick, Stott, Roca, Platt, Deegan, Wolfenden, Carr. Subs: Torpey (Roca 62), Edwards, Norton (Deegan 62), Armstrong, Holden.
Chasetown: Price, J Branch, M Branch, Slater, Stride, Teesdale (c), Stephens, Jevons, Birch, Sedgemore, Steadman. Subs: Perrow, Hay (Birch 65), Farquharson (Stephens 74), Parsons, Cohen.

Click to see more of Dave Birt’s pictures from the game.

Manchester United, Manchester City and FC United help kick off new youth services

 Source: MEN

 City and United will be among around 50 organisations laying on activities for teenagers in a shake-up of the way youth services are provided.

Football clubs, music projects and charities will all deliver services for 13 to 19-year-olds in Manchester after the council decided to stop being a direct provider.

The Blues’ City in the Community, the Manchester United Foundation and FC United are among groups appointed to take over from the council.

Organisations, which also include youth groups, arts and religious societies, charities, sports groups and local radio stations, have been given a share of a £2m town hall commissioning fund for youth activities.

The council gave up its role as a direct provider of youth services as part of £170m cuts over two years. The move will save the city £9m.

Now the £2m fund has been used to commission ‘high quality’ activities.

The new youth service providers, which will deliver workshops, outreach and skills programmes and sports including boxing, cycling and football on 20-month contracts, were chosen by a panel.

This included officials plus 19-year-old Becci Tighe, from Clayton, and 21-year-old Ashley Macfarlane, from Moss Side, both of whom work with the council’s Children’s Rights service for kids in care.

Ashley said: "Because I’m still quite young and can remember being a youth, I was thinking about the stuff young people would like to do and would benefit from. There was nothing to do when I was a child and it’s very easy for young people to fall into the wrong path when they’ve not got skills or aspirations.

"There were certain people who helped me choose the right path and its about putting youths in contact with those sorts of people."

Becci added: "It was important the organisations include a wide range of young people and that they provide something interesting and fun to do to keep them going back."

Coun Mike Amesbury, the council’s executive member for culture and leisure, said: "We have had to move away from a universal service but this is targeted at those young people who are most in need and furthest away from the labour market."

Deborah Linton
August 22, 2011

Council receives twice as many letters of support for FC United stadium than objections

 Source: MEN

 Twice as many letters have been received by council chiefs in support of FC United’s plans for a 5,000-capacity stadium than against them, the M.E.N. can reveal.

Next month, the breakaway club and a residents’ group opposed to the scheme face a date with destiny at Manchester town hall, when a planning committee gives its verdict on whether the Moston project can go ahead.

Planners invited feedback from the community and it is understood about 1,000 letters have come into the council objecting to the plans compared with more than 2,000 in favour.

Each is being scrutinised ahead of the September 16 decision.

A town hall source said officials were ‘staggered’ by the amount of letters received about the proposals, which would see the ground, a mix of terracing and seating, built on the currently-gated Ronald Johnson playing fields close to St Mary’s Road.

The source added: “There are literally boxes of letters that we have to sift through before the planning committee meeting. It’s a struggle to think of anything that has created as much interest in living memory.”

Since we revealed the proposals in April, debate has raged over the merits of the scheme which would see FC, formed in protest at the Glazer family’s ownership of Manchester United in 2005, secure a permanent home in the city.

The club want to build an eco-friendly community facility. They claim it will regularly throw open its doors to residents and promised to cater for Moston Juniors, the amateur team who play at the site.

Residents United Residents Association, formed in protest at the plans, claim it will cause traffic chaos, lower house prices and destroy a valuable green space.

With the all-important verdict looming, many homes in the area are displaying posters either in favour of or against the plans. Once the decision is made The Charity Commission will also have to decide whether the site can be used to build a stadium because the land is subject to a covenant governing its use.

Mike Keegan
August 22, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sick boss takes to radio waves

 Source: Bury Times

 KARL Marginson is set to miss FC United’s first six games as he recovers from a kidney infection.

The Rebels manager has targeted a September return after being admitted to hospital last week complaining of severe abdominal pains.

Marginson missed his new-look team’s superb 2-0 win at Stafford Rangers on the opening day of the Evo-Stick Premier Division season on Saturday.

But the 40-year-old boss, who was also absent from last night’s match against North Ferriby United as he recovers in hospital, masterminded the weekend victory against Stafford from his sick-bed.

He gave instructions to his assistant Roy Soule by mobile phone as he followed the match via the club’s website.

And he was given the perfect get well soon gift as the Gigg Lane tenants took three points with goals from Matthew Wolfenden, in the opening minute, and Dean Stott.

FC take on Chasetown on Saturday at Gigg Lane before travelling to a Chester side on Wednesday, who will include former Reds favourite Jerome Wright.

3:10pm Thursday 18th August 2011
By Liam Chronnell

For and against: Both sides give their views on FC United stadium plan

 Source: MEN

 FC United’s planned move to Moston has created ‘unprecedented’ public interest with supporters of both sides flooding the town hall with emotive letters and petitions.

The breakaway club hope to build a 5,000 capacity stadium on the site of the Ronald Johnson playing fields close to St Mary’s Road.

A planning decision is due at a Manchester council meeting next month and a town hall insider has told the N.E.M. they have been ‘staggered’ with the amount of contact they have had from both supporters and opponents of the scheme.

Council chiefs declined to reveal how much correspondence they had received in favour and against the proposals, which would see FC finally secure a permanent home in the city.

But a source said: "We’ve been staggered by it. There are literally boxes of letters that we have to sift through before the planning committee meeting. It’s a struggle to think of anything that has created as much interest."

Manchester’s Green Party have entered the debate - claiming residents opposed to the stadium refused to attend a meeting they had brokered with the club. Chris Gibbins, from the party, expressed his disappointment and said: "We believe that FC United are genuinely willing to enter into dialogue about the environmental impact of the development."

He added that he was speaking to the club in a bid to minimise the plan’s impact on the surrounding envrironment.

The site, currently fenced off and used by amateur club Moston Juniors, was identified after Manchester council withdrew support for an original proposal to build on brown field land at Ten Acres Lance in Newton Heath.

Bosses at the club say the stadium will provide a community facility. A group formed in protest at the plans, Residents United Residents Association, claim that the stadium would cause traffic chaos and increase levels of anti-social behaviour.

Many homes in the area are displaying posters both in favour of and against the plans.

The decision will be made at a meeting of the Planning & Highways Committee on September 15. It is then understood the Chairty Commission will make their own decision on whether the site can be used to build a stadium at a later date.

Below, we give both sides the chance to have their say on the plans ...


FC United of Manchester is a non-league football club formed in 2005 and is wholly owned by its supporters. It is a democratic organisation and anyone can become a co-owner of the club, having a say in how it is run, electing the board and deciding club policy such as ticket prices.

The club is currently working in partnership with Manchester council and Moston Juniors FC over a proposal to develop a community stadium and facilities at Ronald Johnson Playing Fields.

If the proposal is given the go ahead, it would bring to the area £3.5m of investment including a 5,000 capacity ground, a community club house, a new artificial pitch and the retention of two junior grass pitches, integration of FC United’s community programme with Moston Juniors FC’s development plans, coaching, holiday activities and drop-in football sessions.

In addition, the club is looking at further benefits for those near the site, such as providing free community broadband and a district heating plant offering cheaper energy. The plans also include opening up and landscaping the site to include public spaces and management, in conjunction with residents’ groups, of traffic, parking, noise and litter.

Uniquely, FC United has legal obligations written into its constitution to be of benefit to nearby communities.

The club has always worked to honour this obligation. It has already been delivering its community work in Moston - with activity for young people, improving health and fitness, apprenticeship schemes and community events. If it comes to Moston, the club would continue and increase this work. If you would like to know more about the club’s community work or how you or your group could get involved, please email fcumrjconsultation@fc-utd.co.uk.


Residents United Residents Association would like to thank the people of Moston for their overwhelming and continually growing support in their quest to stop a 5,696 capacity football stadium being built on Ronald Johnson playing fields.

This land holds restrictive covenants and to just give it free of charge to FC United and include more than £750,000 in funding is disrespectful - the council were left to protect this land and not exploit it.

When the council are cutting vital services, jobs, Sure Start centres & libraries this seems an extravagant and shameless way to spend taxpayer’s money.

There has been thousands of pounds spent improving the area gaining it a Green Flag award and encouraging wildlife, something that has been very successful as the park and fields are now home to water voles and bats, both protected species, plus many varieties of insects.

This area includes sheltered accommodation for the elderly who will be directly affected by a floodlit Astroturf 5.2 metres from their homes.

And what happened to a person’s right to enjoy a quiet and peaceful existence in their community?

Being a residential area the infrastructure couldn’t cope with a 5,696 capacity football stadium with all the associated problems that will come with it.

The planning application is full of flaws and contradictions and has admitted insufficient parking with the need to use our local roads.

This will be a major problem not only for the immediate area but for many streets and roads within a wide radius of the stadium.

Should you still wish to object then please do so, after all our green space depends on it.

FC United dish out six of best to North Ferriby United

 Source: MEN

 FC United continued their winning start to the new season by thrashing North Ferriby United 6-3 last night, writes Ben Collins.

The Rebels won 2-0 at Stafford in Saturday’s Evo-Stik Premier opener and followed that up thanks to a storming second-half fightback.

Despite having to play at Stalybridge rather than FC’s normal Gigg Lane base, 1,532 made the trip to Bower Fold and saw the visitors take the lead.

Matty Wolfenden equalised and, although Carlos Roca’s cross forced an own goal, the Villagers made it 2-2 before regaining the lead after half-time.

But from 3-2 down, FC battled back to win it through Steve Torpey, Ben Deegan, a Roca penalty and another own goal.

“Our fitness levels won it,” said assistant boss Roy Soule. “We slammed them out of sight second half.

“We put pressure on them and kept our shape, we’ve made an excellent start.

“We just have to carry it on now back at Gigg Lane on Saturday against Chasetown.”

Chorley’s game with FC United made all ticket after meetings with the police

 Source: Chorley Guardian

 Chorley FC’s hotly-anticipated home match with FC United of Manchester on September 10 will be all ticket after talks with the police.

Magpies fans hoping to watch the big clash will need to collect a voucher in order to be able to buy a ticket.

Vouchers were given out at last night’s home opener against Frickley Athletic, and will also be available to anyone attending Saturday’s home game against Buxton and the clash with Marine on Monday, August 29.

About 500 tickets will go to season ticket holders. The match may also be moved to an earlier kick-off time, though this has yet to be confirmed.

The club is determined to prevent a repeat of the crowd trouble that marred February’s game with Chester

Manager Garry Flitcroft hopes a huge crowd will turn up to cheer on his charges in what is likely to be one of the biggest games of the season.

He said: “When we came up into this league the games we looked for were Chester and FC United.

“It’s a big advantage if we can get the ground full of Chorley fans.We will need them on the day, because FC United are going to be pushing at the top of the table for definite.

“If we can outnumber them I think we will be in for a really good day.

“We are going to need the backing of as many people as we can get.”

Details of when voucher holders will be able to buy their tickets are yet to be announced.FC United fans will be able to buy tickets for the game through their own club, and details of this will also be announced in due course.

Chief Insp Richard Robertshaw said: “When the fixture list came out we had a meeting with the club to discuss the game against FC United.

“Both ourselves and the club recognised that it was likely to attract a significant amount of interest.We’re pleased the club has taken steps to ensure the safety of the fans for what promised to be an excellent game.”

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Charity football match in memory of Urmston player

 Source: Messenger Newspapers

 URMSTON footballers will be playing a charity football match tomorrow night (Ed: Thursday 18th August 2011, 7pm, Lees Field, Davyhulme Road, Manchester, M41 8QA) in memory of a former vice captain who died earlier this year.

Mark Abbott, 31, who played for Urmston Meadowside’s Men’s Team, died on January 3 when he was hit by a car while out jogging on the East Lancashire Road in Salford.

AFC Urmston Meadowside Mens Team will be playing a Charity Football Match against an FC United XI (mainly their Youth Team) this evening at Lees Field on Davyhulme Road, Davyhulme.

Mark was very close to his uncle, who recently lost his sight and so the match will raise money for Guide Dogs for the Blind to buy a guide dog.

David Stead, development manager and treasurer at Urmston Meadowside, said players had been left devastated by the news of Mark’s death.

He said Mark, who had been playing for the team for three years and last year was awarded Player of the Year for the 2009/10 season, was one of the team’s best players.

Monday, August 15, 2011

FC boss Marginson manages from his hospital sick bed

 Source: MEN

 Tony Glennon

 FC UNITED launched their Evo-Stik Premier campaign with a 2-0 win at Stafford Rangers – with manager Karl Marginson taking charge from his hospital bed!

Despite being laid low by a kidney infection, Marginson kept up with the Rebels’ progress online and gave instructions to his assistant Roy Soule by mobile phone.

FC’s general manager Andy Walsh said: “Karl issued orders from his sick-bed and was also actively involved with team selection. He followed the match on our radio station via the internet. He couldn’t stay out of it, that’s for sure!”

Matty Wolfenden gave United a dream start when he headed home Nicky Platt’s corner inside the first minute.

Defender Dean Stott made it 2-0 in first-half stoppage time.

Ashton United got off to a flyer with Aaron Burns (pen), sub Chris Amadi and Ian Bennett on target in their 3-0 win over Matlock.

Northwich and Chorley also made winning starts, Vics 3-2 at Buxton while the Magpies sank North Ferriby 2-1 with Chris Denham hitting their opener.

There were goals galore in Evo-Stik North, with Adam Carden scoring twice in Warrington’s 5-1 romp at Salford City, Woodley thrashing Prescot 4-0 with the help of a Nathan Neequaye hat-trick and Kamahl Wright and Joe Shaw bagging two apiece in Trafford’s thrilling 4-3 win at Durham.

David Young’s 36th-minute strike was enough to give Curzon Ashton victory over Radcliffe, but Mossley tumbled 2-1 at Ossett Town.

New Mills had to settle for a 2-2 draw from their Evo-Stik South debut at Quorn, while Ramsbottom and Glossop each made it two wins from their opening three matches.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

FC United ticket info

 Source: Buxton Advertiser

 TICKETS are now available for Buxton FC’s home clash with FC United of Manchester on Bank Holiday Saturday August 27 (kick-off 3pm).

As usual, the match will be all ticket and the ground will be segregated.

Tickets, priced £10 for adults and £6 for concessions, are available from the club shop during home matches, or from the Vault Bar, High Street, Buxton, during opening hours.

The home fixture against Rushall Olympic is now on Tuesday August 23 (kick-off 7.45pm).

First day defeat for Rangers

 Source: Staffordshire Newsletter

 DEFENSIVE errors cost Stafford Rangers' new boss Greg Clowes and his new look team on the opening day of the Evo-Stik premier campaign.

Rangers, relegated from the Blue Square North last season, found themselves chasing the game from as early as the first minute, in fact the new term was only 30 seconds old when visiting FC United of Manchester took the lead.

From a corner, given away by defender Charlie Reeves, visiting forward Matthew Wolfenden headed home from close range and Rangers were immediately facing an uphill battle against a well drilled United outfit, backed by around 800 of their own supporters.

Only good goalkeeping by Danny Read kept out a hungry FC United side, while a volley way off the mark from Rangers wide man Peter Heler was the only real response in a disappointing opening 45 minutes for the hosts.

On the stroke of half-time, Rangers fell further behind when pacey winger Carlos Roca whipped in a low cross and Dean Stott raced in to fire home, with the Rangers back line again caught out.

Rangers came a little more into the game after the break, but never really threatened visiting keeper James Spencer, while Read at the other end was again called upon to thwart Ben Deegan (twice) and Nicky Platt as FC United ran out worthy winners.

Boro team: Read, George, Skelton, Donnelly, Reeves, Douglas, Heler, Blackhurst, Budrys, Shotton, Chapman. Subs used, Thompson (for Budrys 63), KInsella (for Chapman 63), Stevenson (for Heler 77); Not used, Rogers, Wood. Referee: Nick Hopton (Derby); Att: 1,701

Thursday, August 11, 2011

New-look Rebels set for promotion push this season

 Source: Bury Times

 By Caroline Oatway

 FC United are aiming to go one better when they kick off the new season at Stafford Rangers on Saturday.

The Rebels are among the favourites to secure promotion from the Evo-Stik Premier League after going so close last season and, despite losing three key players over the summer, are looking to make a flying start.

Long-serving goalkeeper Sam Ashton has joined Skelmersdale, with Jerome Wright and Scott McManus, pictured, leaving for Chester and Halifax respectively.

But the Gigg Lane tenants have acted quickly to bring in eight new faces as they look to put last year’s heartbreak behind them.

After being in the bottom three at Christmas, FC, who reached the second round of the FA Cup before losing to Brighton in a replay, soared up the table to make the play-offs before losing 1-0 to Colwyn Bay in the final.

But assistant manager Roy Soule believes this year’s squad is in a better shape to mount a title challenge.

He said: “I feel that this squad has a better balance than last season. It’s more competent, more disciplined and there is more maturity about the players.

“Pre-season has been excellent. We’ve made the lads work really hard and they have responded. We’re really pleased with the lads’ approach and hopefully it will transfer into results on the pitch.”

The Rebels have snapped up former Bury goalkeeper James Spencer and ex-Burnley and Preston North End defender Dean Stott joining from Hyde. Centre-back Adam Jones also arrives, along with Scott Metcalfe, Adam Edwards, Daniel Grimshaw, Chris Horne and Paul Armstrong.

Manager Karl Marginson has also pulled off a coup with the signing of Michael Carr from Stalybridge Celtic. The midfielder has won seven caps for England C, the non-league international team.

FC follow Saturday’s trip to Stafford with a home game against North Ferriby United at Stalybridge’s Bower Fold on Wednesday.

Rebels boss is hospitalised

 Source: MEN

 FC United manager Karl Marginson was admitted to hospital hours before their pre-season game on Tuesday night.

The 40-year-old boss was not on the touchline for the Rebels’ trip to Trafford after complaining of severe abdominal pains.

He stayed in hospital overnight and was set to undergo additional tests yesterday in a bid to diagnose the problem.

Assistant boss Roy Soule took over managerial duties for the 2-1 defeat at Trafford – the final friendly before their league campaigns start this weekend.

Marginson is expected to be absent for Saturday's Evo-Stik Premier opener at Stafford Rangers, with Soule again taking charge.